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London is the capital city of England, as well as the largest in Great Britain. It is considered one of the major cities of the world and a central international location in fashion, business, art, architecture, history, technology, tourism, and housing. It is the third-largest city in Europe.
People Born in London
London in People's Lives
Abbey Lee Kershaw: This is one of my favorite cities, and I prefer it to New York. If forced to choose, I would (and have) skip New York Fashion Week for this city's version. I am often here for shows, events, and shoots.
Adelaide Kane: I traveled here in August 2014 and met up with a childhood friend of mine.
Agatha Christie: During my childhood, I frequently visited and stayed with my aunt and grandmother here. In 1914, I was married here, and my husband and I settled into a flat in Northeast London. It was here that my first novels were published.
Anne Boleyn: I became the mistress of King Henry VIII in London in 1523, and he overthrew the papacy and left his wife in order to marry me. I was crowned Queen Regent of England here in 1533, and beheaded here in 1536.
Anne of Cleves: I travelled here in 1540 in order to marry King Henry VIII, and was crowned Queen Regent here. My marriage did not go so very well, and my time in this city was mainly troubled by increasing stress between us. I left only a few months later to live in the countryside, though I did come back to court frequently in the following years.
Arnold Bennett: I moved from my smaller hometown to London in 1888. I was 21, and started working as an editor.
Connie Talbot: I traveled here in 2007 to compete in Britain's Got Talent. I was 7 years old, but was a favorite to win, and placed third.
Edmund Barton: I visited here in 1900, along with Alfred Deakin and Charles Kingston, in order to explain and argue the federation bill back in my homeland of Australia to the British government. I was only partially successful. I returned to this city for a much better visit in 1902, to attend the coronation of Edward VII and to accept a knighthood.
George Vancouver: I returned from years of highly successful voyages of exploration to London in 1795, only to be harassed, slandered, challenged to a duel, and stalked and assaulted on a street-corner by the Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger - all while in ill health. Before I could restore my good name, I died here in 1798.
Georgina Chapman: I was born here in 1976, to the multi-millionaire owner of a coffee company and a journalist. I attended the University of Arts London from about 1997 - 2001, majoring in design, after which I began my career as a costume designer for entertainment productions. This gave me the idea to try out acting, and I appeared in a few TV shows and landed minor roles in movies. I launched the line Marchesa in 2004 with my partner Keren Craig, which quickly rose to become one of the most successful lines in upper-tier fashion. I moved away from this city around 2004, after meeting my future husband Harvey Weinstein.
Gerald Durrell: My mother moved my family here after the death of my father, in 1928. I was only three years old, and we moved away from my birthplace of India. Our family lived in South London, in the Upper Northwood - Crystal Palace area. I attended Wickwood School as a boy, but was not an eager student. I loved to simply be at home, around my mother, and often achieved this by pretending that I was too sick to go to school. I grew up here, always a very curious boy fascinated by animals and nature. We moved to Corfu, Greece in 1935, when I was 10 years old. My family returned here in 1939, after the outbreak of World War II. I was now 14 years old. Though I missed the more untamed nature of Greece, I now concentrated on becoming more serious about my passion for nature, and making a career of it. As I had been homeschooled and had no evidence of a formal education, and it was war time, I had difficulty finding a job. But I was quite determined and enterprising, and eventually found work at a pet store. In 1943, once I turned 18, I was drafted to join the military, but was found to have a medical exemption. I instead requested that I help the war effort on a farm. Once the war ended in 1945, I was 20 years old, and ready to pursue zoology. I began work at Whipsnade Zoo in this city as a junior keeper, a dream of mine. I was delighted. I left the zoo in 1946, intending to join a wildlife collecting expedition. However, I was turned down based on my lack of experience. I managed to secure a place in 1947 by paying my own way, using the inheritance money that my father had left in a trust for me to access upon turning 21. I set off with a respected ornithologist to Yaounde, Cameroon. It was the first of many voyages, and I was for the next few years always returning to this city with animals to sell to English zoos, and then off again. Unlike many wildlife collectors, I was very respectful of the countries that I visited, and of the animals that I captured. I never captured specimans simply for their "show value," or with the high prices that collectors would pay in mind. I also was careful never to over-collect, and to feed my animals the best of food. Unfortunately, this also negated all of the money that I made from my work, and by the end of a series of expeditions in 1950, I was broke. To make matters worse, I had a falling out with one of the most powerful men in the British zoology world, the superintendent of the London Zoo. As a result, I was blackballed and exiled from nearly all zoos in England. Discouraged, I moved to work at an aquarium in Manchester in 1951.
Gerard Manley Hopkins: I was born here in 1844, in the Stratford area, which was then a part of Essex. I was the eldest of nine children. My accomplished father was the founder of a marine insurance firm, the former Hawaiian consul general, a church warden, and a poet. My mother was the daughter of an eminent doctor. She instilled in me her own love of reading, German philosophy, and music. My family was deeply religious, of the High Church Anglicans. My mother's sister, my Aunt Maria, taught me to sketch as a boy, which I loved. I decided that I wanted to become a painter, an idea that my artistic family supported. I attended boarding school in the Highgate area of this city from 1854 - 1863. I wrote my first poem at the age of 16, in 1860, inspired by John Keats, since my family had moved to a house close to the famous poet's former home. Now I became a young man of many interests. I continued to pursue painting, but also followed my new passion of writing poetry. I became interested in science as well - though none of my experiments were all that good. For one of them, I came up with the theory that most poeple drank more liquids than they needed to, and bet classmates that I could go for a week without drinking any water. My tongue turned black and I collapsed at a school drill, and decided to end the experiment. I also once attempted to abstain from salt for a week. In 1863, at the age of 19, I left to attend the University of Oxford. I returned in 1868, now a very different man. I was now 24 years old, and had graduated from Oxford with first-class honours. However, I had become a very strict Catholic during my time at university, much to my Anglican family's disapproval. I had decided, after teaching at a Catholic oratory, to enter the ministry as a Jesuit priest. I began my novitiate at the Society of Jesus at Parkstead House, in the Roehampton area of this city. I continued to hold true to my vow to banish myself from writing, which had formerly been my life's passion. After two years of training, in 1870, I took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and moved to Clitheroe for philosophical training. I returned here in 1874, now 30 years old, to teach as a classics professor at Parkstead House. I had, for some years now, been secretly keeping a poetry journal. I began writing poetry again, non-secretively, in 1875, while in Wales. I submitted my poem The Wreck of the Deutschland to a Jesuit magazine. It was accepted, but not published, which discouraged me. I never attempted to publish another poem again, unaware of course that after my poetry would later be published after my death, I would become one of the most famous English poets of my generation. I resolved myself to lead the gloomy, austere life of a priest, often lonely. I continued to write, though I did not share my work with anyone. I was ordained as an official priest in 1877, at the age of 33. Rather than settling into my predictable and unchanging life of priestly duties, I became frustrated and bored, and was often unhappy. In 1878 I became a curate at a church in the Mount Street area here. In December of 1878, I moved to accept a ministry position in Oxford, where I had gone to university as a young man.
Harry Styles: I came here in 2010 to compete as a solo singer on The X-Factor. However, I didn't quite make the cut, and was voted off. It was suggested that I form a boy band along with four other boys in my age group who had also been voted out of solo male singers. We took the suggestion, and formed a five-person boy band. We all moved in together and got to know each other and practice, over only two weeks. I came up with the name "One Direction" for our band, because it had a nice ring to it when I imagined the show announcers calling it out. Simon Cowell himself believed in us during and after the competition, and we began to gather popularity through the UK. We finished the competition in third place. Although we didn't win the show, we did win at everything else... And immediately signed a 2 million pound contract with Simon. We skyrocketed to international fame, and became one of the most successful boy bands of all time. I bought a mansion in North West London in August of 2012, for $2.95 million, and have extensively renovated it, including the construction of an underground garage for my fleet of sports cars. I am now here more often than not, working and living.
Henry VII: I marched into this city in 1485, after having defeated Richard III in battle and taken back England for the Tudors. I was crowned king in Westminster Abbey shortly afterward, and began taking control of my new kingdom. I was 28 years old at the time, and had just become one of the most powerful men in the world. I married my queen Elizabeth of York in January of 1486, also at Westminster. I was a fair but firm ruler, willing to forgive old followers of the Plantagenets, but swiftly issuing judgements if they strayed. I was threatened with several rebellions over the next few years, most notably one by Perkin Warbeck, but all were contained and put to rest. I did an excellent job of controlling my noble subjects, and also made taxation more efficient, put in force laws making noblemen pay taxes of their own, restored the fortunes of a formerly bankrupt country, strengthened the navy, formed alliances with France and Spain, improved trade in imports and exports, and reformed the legal system. I was at times characterized by greediness, and for harshly enforcing taxation on the common people. Meanwhile, in my personal life, I had a happy relationship with my wife. My first child, a son, was born in 1486, and I was immensely happy - and named him Arthur. I raised him as my heir, and had three other healthy children. I was devastated when Arthur suddenly died in 1502. As I was ordinarily quite a reserved man, my court was shocked at my intense outpouring of grief. I now focused on grooming my second son, Henry VIII, to be king. In 1503, only a year after Arthur, my queen Elizabeth of York died, and I was devastated yet again. I became very sick, literally of a broken heart. My noblemen urged me to remarry, and I made some halfhearted attempts, but all that I really wanted was Elizabeth. When my advisors, scouring Europe for a suitable princess for me, asked for a description of the type of woman I would be interested in, I sent them an exact description of Elizabeth. I never married again, and became a loner. I "departed to a solitary place," and would only let my mother, Margaret Beaufort, see me. I died in April of 1509, and was buried beside my beloved Elizabeth, at the age of 52.
Henry VIII: For decades, this was my city, the crowning location of the country that I ruled. I was born here in June of 1491, at Greenwich Palace, as a prince. I was the third child and second son of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. I was born into the lap of luxury, and grew up as a slightly pampered, confident child. At the age of two, in 1493, I began to recieve ceremonial posts and titles from my father, such as Constable of Dover Castle, Earl Marshal of England, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to name a few. At the age of three, I was made Duke of York. I was given an education from an early age by the best of personal tutors, and became fluent in Latin and French, also learning some Italian. However, as my older brother Arthur was first in line for succession, I was not expected to become king. In 1502, however, my life changed forever. My older brother unexpectedly died, leaving me as the next heir to the throne at the age of 10. I was given even further titles, and my father's attitude toward me changed: I was also expected to be more responsible, learn new things, and take on new duties. I was now strictly supervised, given far more rules and regulations, and was not allowed to appear in public for some time. In 1503, I was betrothed to Catherine of Aragon, the former wife of my late brother. However, things grew complicated - the Pope would need to approve the marriage, and meanwhile as time passed my father's relationship with the Spanish deteriorated, making him wonder if an alliance through a Spanish princess was truly in his best interests. In 1505, at the age of 14, I refused the marriage, as now I was of the age where I could legally decide such a thing for myself. I spent the next few years enduring the scrambling of my father and his men to mold me into the perfect heir, but I was headstrong and fiery tempered. In 1509, when I was 18 years old, my father Henry VII passed away, and I was made King of England. A few months later, I declared to the surprise of many that I would marry my former betrothed, Catherine of Aragon, after all. I decided to ignore the fact that papal approval had never been given, and said that it had been my father's dying wish. We had a simple wedding in June of 1509, but were coronated king and queen together shortly afterward in a lavish and grand ceremony. I then set myself to taking complete control of my new kingdom, swiftly executing two of my father's former ministers in 1510, and exhibiting a strong but fair hand. I gave back to the common people much of the money that the two treasonous ministers had been found stealing. Catherine became pregnant for the first time, but gave birth to a stillborn daughter in 1510. She had a son in 1511, but he died seven weeks later. Desperate for an heir, my relationship with Catherine became strained. She miscarried again in 1514, but finally gave birth in 1516 to our first child, Mary. I was disappointed to have a daughter instead of a son, but now that I saw that Catherine was capable of having a healthy child, our relationship became better. Of course, during this time, I had numerous mistresses. In 1519, my mistress Elizabeth Blount gave birth to my illegitimate son, Henry FitzRoy. Together with the Spanish, I waged war against France from 1511 - 1513, hoping to reclaim Aquitaine for England. However, the war did little but drain the royal funds, and I later decided to make a tentative peace with the French instead. By 1525, my patience with Catherine's inability to produce a male heir was running out. I began seeking a way out of my marriage to her, and also around this time became fascinated by Anne Boleyn. Despite much controversy and opposition, in 1530 my marriage to Catherine was annulled, and I banished her from court and moved Anne into her chambers. Shortly afterward, I broke from the Roman Catholic Church and created my own Church of England, an action that shocked Europe. Anne and I married in 1532, but she too had only a series of miscarriages, and no heirs. I began to seek a way out of my marriage, again. In 1536, word reached me that my former queen Catherine of Aragon had died, and I ordered that public celebrations be held for the occasion of her death. Later in the year, I had Anne accused of treason, adultery, and possibly witchcraft. I executed her brother, George Boleyn, along with four other men, on charges of them having had sex with the queen, despite little evidence to support this. I had Anne herself executed two days later. The very day after Anne's execution, I became engaged to Jane Seymour, who had been my mistress since 1534. We were married ten days later. In 1537, Jane gave birth to a healthy and legitimate heir, my son Edward VI, and so my greatest wish was finally fulfilled. However, the birth had been a difficult one, and Jane died twelve days later. I immediately began to search for another wife, this time looking out across Europe in search of a strong alliance. I settled upon Anne of Cleves, and married her in 1540. However, from the beginning, I loathed her, and even before our wedding took place, began looking for a way out of the union. Our marriage was annuled on the grounds that it had never been consummated a few months later, and I now married the young Catherine Howard. However, she was soon found to have had two affairs, and I executed her in a rage in 1542. I married my last wife, Catherine Parr, in 1543, and she helped to bring my family back together and reunite with my estranged daughter Mary. By this time, I was in ill health, grossly obese, covered in painful boils and plagued by gout. I died in January 28th of 1547, which had been my father's birthday, in Whitehall Palace. I was 55 years old. I was laid to rest in St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, next to my most beloved wife, Jane Seymour.
Henry James: I moved here in 1869, when I was 26 years old and an aspiring writer. I began to establish friendships and relatonships with publishers, and began to publish serial novels. However, I was not completely happy with this arrangement, as the main audience for these serials was middle aged women, and was quite constrained in what was suitable and proper to write about. I lived in a rented room, where I often entertained guests, and attended a gentleman's club with a library. I also came into the London society scene, through well connected friends. In 1875, I moved to Paris. I moved back within a year, however, in 1876, and came to see this city as my true home. I gathered further acclaim in the literary world, and became a renowned and highly successful writer. In 1878, I published Daisy Miller, which reached even greater heights and became popular in the United States as well as Europe. In 1881, I published my masterpiece, The Portrait of a Lady. However, 1881 began a series of tragedies for me. My mother died, followed by my father, and then my younger brother Wilkie. A family friend, and my friend Ivan Turgenev, also died shortly afterward. I continued to write, drawing new influence from other writers and sources. Though the books that I wrote during this time, such as The Bostonians in 1886, remain classic literature today, at the time of their publication they were met with poor sales and negative reviews. Discouraged, I feared that they had hurt my career irrepairably. My next book was met with equally bad reaction, and I was so disheartened, I decided to stop writing novels, and turn to plays. During the early 1890's, I was a playwright, with some moderate success. However, my play Guy Domville, which premiered in 1895, was a disastrous failure. At the end of the premiere, I came out on stage to bow, and the audience jeered and threw things at me. I was so distraught over this, I quit writing plays altogether, and became to think constantly of death. However, after traveling and returning to this city refreshed, I returned to writing novels. I ended up producing some of my best works, including The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors, and The Golden Bowl. After World War I began in 1914, I helped with the war effort. In 1915, I finally became an official British citizen, and in 1916 was awarded the Order of Merit. I died in February of 1916, in the Chelsea area of this city, at the age of 72.
Henry Morgan: After decades of ravaging the Caribbean and South American coasts with my powerful pirate fleet, I was arrested in 1672 for sacking Panama City, a violation of the peace treaty between the English and the Spanish made in 1670. In extended trials, I protested that I had never heard of this treaty, having left the United Kingdom many years ago, and having little contact with the European world, mainly living on the sea. The charges were dropped, and when relations with Spain became strained and eventually failed altogether, I was knighted, made Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, and allowed to return freely to the Caribbean in 1674 to continue piracy.
Ian McEwan: After spending most of my life in boarding school and university for eight years, and subsequently living in Afghanistan for a year, I moved here in 1975, now 27 years old and ready to enter normal life. Having been working on writing novels and dreaming of being published for years, I finally accomplished this, publishing my first book, First Love, Last Rites in 1975. It won the Somerset Maugham Award the next year, in 1976, and I was immensely happy. I continued to write, achieving fame, notoriety (especially when my play, Solid Geometry, was suspended due to obscenity), and wealth. I continued publishing books, many of which won numerous acclaimed prizes and became bestsellers. I married my free-spirited college girlfriend, Penny, in 1982, at the age of 34. Though we shared happy times together, Penny was rather obscurist, and looked down on bestselling authors who catered to the masses - which she began to view me as. She called my lifestyle "glitterati," and did not mean this in a flattering light. We had two sons together, but divorced in 1995, and became involved in a bitter feud, mainly battling over the custody of our children, which I eventually won. Two years later, I married a newspaper editor, Annalena. I still live here, always writing, and living in a lavish mansion within the city. I also avidly follow, and frequently speak out about, politics and religion - the latter of which I have no patience for.
Isaac Newton: After spending most of my life studying and discovering mathematics and science at Trinity College in Cambridge, I moved here in 1696 to accept the post of Warden of the Royal Mint. At the time, I was 54 years old and regarded as one of the most brilliant minds of an era. I took charge of England's monumental move of re-coining, offending some of the designers of the old coins, though I paid this little attention. I became Master of the Mint in 1699, a position that I held for the next thirty years, until my death. Though these honors were intended to be honorary, I took them gravely seriously, and devoted myself to them fiercely, even retiring from my duties as a Fellow at Cambridge in 1701, in order to focus on my work. I worked to re-coin currency, punish clippers and counterfeiters, and reform the monetary system. In these days, counterfeiters ran rampant. I estimated that approximately 20 percent of the coins I took in during the re-coining were fakes. Avid about seeking out the culprits, I would often go in disguise to local bars and taverns, in disguise on undercover missions, to seek out the counterfeiters myself - a task that I enjoyed perhaps a bit too much. Lacking the legal power to prosecute those who I did find, I went about seeking to make myself a Justice of the Peace, which I succeeded in becoming in 1698. I was made President of the Royal Society, one of the most prestigious intellectual positions in the world, in 1703, and an associate of the French Academie des Sciences in the same year. Astute in finance, I made quite a few successful investments, though I lost heavily after the collapse of the South Sea Company, whose primary trade was in slaves. Around 1715, I moved from this city to quieter estate in Hursley, retiring there at the age of 73, but still retaining my posts at the Royal Mint. Though I no longer resided here, I often visited this city for the remainder of my life. During a visit here in 1727, I died in my sleep, at the age of 84. I was buried at Westminster Abbey.
Isabella Beeton: I was born here at 24 Milk Street in the Cheapside area in 1836. My father died when I was very young, and my mother re-married and moved away to Epsom. I returned years later, in 1856, now a married woman. At my husband and I's large, Italian-style home in the Hatch End district, I gave birth to our firstborn child, a son, and began writing articles, under the encouragement and aid of my husband, a newspaper man. I was a monthly contributor to a women's magazine, and eventually compiled my recipes, tips, and household advice into a book, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, which became a wildly popular bestseller. I died here of a fever in 1865, only 28 years old. My husband kept my death a secret from the public, and continued publishing updates on my book, new versions, and even newspaper articles in my name.
James II of England: I was born here in 1633, at St. James's Palace, the second son of King Charles I of England and Queen Henrietta Maria of France, a prince of England. I had a privileged childhood, and a royal education, growing up with my older brother Charles II and George Villiers. At the age of 11, in 1642, I was honored with the title of Duke of York. Meanwhile, England was swirling in chaos, though I did not completely understand it. My father's disputes with Parliament turned into the English Civil War, and I was moved to Oxford. I returned to this city in 1646, now 15 years old and considered a serious threat to Parliamentary forces. After having been taken prisoner in the Siege of Oxford, I was transported back to this city as a captive, to be imprisoned - ironically - in St. James's Palace, my former home. I remained here as a prisoner for two years before a successful escape plan was made, and I fled in 1648 to the Hague, now 17 years old. The next years of my life would be spent mainly in France, but also in the Netherlands and Belgium. Exiled from my birthplace, I did not hold much hope of ever returning, as my older brother Charles seemed unlikely to ever be able to regain his rightful control of the British crown. This changed many years later, however, and in 1660, we returned to this city and were welcomed back to England as royalty in a dramatic change of fortunes - turning us from penniless exiles into two of the most powerful men in the world. Charles was crowned King and I was named his heir presumptive, though it was expected that I would never take the throne, as Charles was expected to soon father legitimate children, amongst his many illegitimate offspring. In additon to my English title of Duke of York, I was also named Duke of Albany in Scotland. Almost immediately upon arriving in England, I became enamored with Anne Hyde, and seduced her, promising marriage. In 1660, she became pregnant, but no one expected me to actually marry her, as my station was leagues above her, and she was considered a commoner. Against everyone's advice, however, I married her secretly, and then in an official ceremony in this city in the same year - creating a stir of much controversy. We had many children together, though only two daughters would survive past childhood. I was a devoted father and an attentive husband, and was quite close to my wife despite being known for my many mistresses and as one of the court's greatest "oglers." During my years as prince, I was granted many further honors and titles by my brother, served in the Navy, and fought in battles. My success in battle led to me being granted even higher offices, and I became wealthy enough to hold a household court of my own. I was granted land in many areas in Europe, as well as in the New World, with the James River and the new cities of New York and Albany named in my honor. I also owned part of the Hudson Bay Company and slaving companies. During the Great Fire of London in 1666, I was put in charge of efforts to subdue the flames, and was recognized for my part in the mission, winning me many admirers in the common people. At times, I entered into disputes with my brother the king over religion, as I was Catholic and Charles was Protestant. At its worst, Charles ordered my daughters to be raised in the Protestant faith. My first wife Anne died in 1671, and I re-married the Italian princess Mary of Modena in 1673. At the time of our marriage, I was 40 and she was 15. Despite our religious quarrels, my brother allowed me to marry in a Catholic ceremony. Tensions began with the English people, who feared, as time passed and my brother produced no legitimate heirs, that I would inherit the throne and turn the nation to the less popular Catholicism. Despite pressure and scorn, I remained fiercely devoted to my Catholic faith. Nevertheless, tensions rose, and my brother even attempted multiple times to dissolve Parliament in an effort to regain control. In the end, I withdrew from all government authority, but even this did not appease the people. Charles urged me to go abroad for a time, and I left for Brussels in 1680. I returned to this city in 1683, when I heard that Charles was gravely ill. With my brother having fathered no legitimate children, England began to adjust itself to the expectation that I would soon be king, and Catholicism became more widely accepted. I evangelized to my brother diligently, and he convered to Catholicism on his deathbed, dying in 1685. Despite the clamor of years past, there was little opposition to my succession, and I was recieved well as king. I was crowned at Westminster Abbey in April of 1685. During my rule, I put down two rebellions, proved a tolerant but firm ruler, and revolutionized policies concerning the military and religion. However, as time went on, my heavy-handed favor for Catholicism grew to become more and more controversial, and an uprising led by William III began, becoming the Glorious Revolution. More and more of my followers joined William, even my own daughter, Anne of Great Britain. This became known as the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Deeply discouraged, I did not attempt to fight the invaders despite my superior forces, and decided to flee to France. Before leaving this city, I threw the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames. I was captured, but allowed by William to escape, as he feared that executing me would make me a martyr. I fled to the court of my friend and cousin, Louis XIV of France, in Paris.
James McAvoy: I have lived here since about 2000, moving from Scotland for my acting career. In 2006, my wife Anne-Marie Duff and I purchased a modest second-floor flat here, in the North London area. We enjoy having a cozy, simple home base, and do not lead a luxurious or very Hollywood-type lifestyle. We drive a 1990 Nissan Micra worth less than a thousand pounds, and prefer to stay home. My wife and I would rather be in our flat solving sudoku puzzles than at glamorous parties. My lifestyle is "mundane, and I love it that way."
Jane Seymour: I came to live here, at the London court, beginning in 1527, at the age of 19. I served as a maid to Catherine of Aragon, and was elevated to the position of maid-of-honour in 1532, at the age of 24. When Catherine was cast aside and Anne Boleyn was made queen, I then served in her household. In January of 1536, with Anne's favor falling dramatically, the king's attentions came to settle on me, which did not go unnoticed by Anne. When Anne was beheaded in May of 1536, I was immediately afterward swept up in Henry VIII's swirl of controversy, and I was betrothed to the king only one day after Anne's execution. We were married at Whitehall only ten days later. Unlike Boleyn, I found favor with the common people of England after voicing my support and respect for the late queen Catherine of Aragon. I did my best to promote peace within the court, and was regarded as gentle and wise, as well as strict and formal. While during the reign of Anne Boleyn, the courts had been a place of extravagance and lavish parties and finery, I replaced all that with piety and humility, favoring less frivolous antics. I also banned the French fashions that Boleyn had been so fond of, considering them too immodest. I was also a friend and supporter of the young Mary I of England, at the time a child banned from court. I urged Henry, successfully, to repair his relationship with his daughter. In early 1537, I became pregnant, much to my relief and joy. I gave birth to Henry's first male heir in September of 1537, Edward VI of England. My labor had been an excrutiatingly difficult one, and I had been in labor for three days. After my son was born, I remained ill, and it soon became clear that I was close to death. I died in 1537, at the age of 29, and was given an ornate funeral - making me one of the few of Henry's wives to ever recieve one. I was buried in St. George's Chapel at Whitehall Palace. When Henry died 10 years later, he would request to be buried beside me - his favorite wife.
Javier Hernandez: I first visited here in 2010, after being signed to play professional futball for Manchester. My first game here was also in 2010, at the FA Community Shield playing a team from Chelsea in this city. I scored the first goal of the game, and we won 3-1.
John Scott-Ellis: I was born here in 1912 into a wealthy, aristocratic family that was a part of the British peerage, the son of Thomas Scott-Ellis, the 8th Baron Harold de Walden. My family owned about 100 acres of central London, over 8,000 acres in Ayrshire, the Island of Shona, countless farms in Kenya and some in South America, and land in the United States and Canada. I spent much of my life at Avington Manor in the Cranmer Court area of this city.
John William Godward: I was born in the Wimbledon area of this city in 1861, the first child of an investment clerk at a law firm. I was named John for my father, and William for my grandfather. My parents had a clear image of what they wished their eldest son to become, though this did not fit in with my own aspirations. My parents were strict, overbearing, and restrictive - and I grew up to be a shy, stifled young man with reclusive tendencies. I was a talented artist, and pursued a career in this, despite massive disapproval from my family. At the age of 26 in 1887, I exhibited some of my work at the Royal Academy of Arts, a proud accomplishment. For the rest of my life, my passion for art warring with the disapproval and scorn of my family would be my existance. I found success and fame as an artist, and became a student and protege of the great Laurence Alma Tadema, with whom I was close. However, even success could not sway my family in their opinion of my occupation as a painter. With the later popularity of more modern, abstract painters, my own style of work fell out of popularity, and with the pressure of my family, I fell into deep depression. In 1922, at the age of 61, I commited suicide. In a suicide note, I wrote "the world is not big enough for myself and Picasso." My family was, as with everything else I had ever done, scandalized and ashamed of my suicide, and burned all papers and photographs existing of me. I was buried in Brompton Cemetary in West London.
John Woodbridge: After having lived in the Americas for the past thirteen years, I returned to England in 1647, now a respected minister and founder of a growing town in Massachusetts. I had carried with me on the ship some of my sister-in-law Anne Bradstreet's poetry, which I had published as "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up into America," making her the first North American woman to have her writing published. Despite the fact that I had it published without her permission, the publication was successful. I continued work as a pastor here, before moving back to Newbury, Massachusetts in 1663. I never returned to England again.
Joseph Conrad: After quite some time of my uncle and I both trying to obtain citizenship for me in one of the Western European countries, or perhaps even America, I at last was accepted as a citizen of the British Empire in August of 1886, and I moved here from France at the age of 29. Despite now being a British subject, I ran into complications due to Russian law stating that this alone did not remove me from the duty of being a Russian subject, and I at last was freed from this three years later in 1889. As a result of this, I spent quite a lot of time in the Russian Embassy building in Belgrave Square, which would later feature in my novel The Secret Agent. While mainly based out of this city, I continued to embark on various voyages as my job in the British merchant marines. I also began to pursue my dream of being a great writer, and published a few of my books - which became instant successes. I stopped sailing in 1894, at the age of 36, partially due to the ill health that had dogged me since boyhood, and also partially due to my growing success and enamorment with life as a writer. I continued writing, using my experiences as a sailor and voyager of the world in my novels. Despite initial success, my career as an author was not profitable at first, and I was living in debt and had to rely on friends and family to loan me money - one of those friends being John Galsworthy. Monetary success finally came in 1913 when I published the book Chance, which ironically was one of my poorer works. I at last settled into financial comfort. Throughout my life, I continued to write and come up with new ideas, and while I embraced my status as a British citizen, I never lost my Polish side, and was greatly entwined with Polish politics and culture until my death.
Jude Law: I was born here in 1972, the son of a headmaster and a comprehensive school teacher. I was the second and youngest child in my family, with one older sister. I was born in the lower-class area of Lewisham in the south of this city, but grew up in the Greenwich area. From a young age, I was quite artistic and interested in theater. At the age of 15, in 1987, I joined the National Youth Music Theatre. I began gathering better and better roles, and various lead roles, even winning awards. Everyone thought that I was talented and promising. In 1995, at the age of 23, I transferred to New York to act on Broadway. I now own a luxurious home here, and live here part time.
Julien Blanc: I traveled here in September of 2014 to give seminars on how to seduce, emotionally manipulate, and sexually dominate women. However, there was an uproar over my teachings, which many alleged supported and instructed on abuse and rape. Seminars that I was scheduled to coach later in the year were cancelled.
Keira Knightley: London has always played a large role in my life. I was born here in 1985, in the quiet, green neighborhood of Teddington, into a family with a strong heritage of acting. My father was an actor, and my mother was former actress who had now become a playwright. I grew up in the Richmond area of this city, and went to schools in Teddington. As a child, I was often hyper and distracted, and some proclaimed that I had ADHD. I also suffered from dyslexia, but remained a dedicated student. For as long as I can remember, I always knew that I wanted to be an actress. I requested my own agent at the age of three, and for my entire childhood, I was completely and singly focused on acting. I was in numerous school plays, which I took very seriously. I filmed my first major film, Bend it Like Beckham, here in 2001, and after that shot many other movies here. I still live here and love this city.
Lawrence Durrell: I was sent here in 1923, at the age of 11, to attend a grammar school in the Orpington area. I came here from Darjeeling, and it was my first time spent away from India. I was often homesick, and disliked England. In 1924, I was sent to another school in Canterbury. I returned briefly in 1948 with my second wife Eva, but was soon transferred to work in Belgrade, Serbia.
Liam Neeson: I moved here in 1981 to further my acting career, and began living with Helen Mirren. I was cast in my first major films here, and moved away in 1987. I also filmed scenes of Love Actually here in 2002.
Luisa Casati: Though I had visited numerous times before throughout the 1920's, spending my trips dressing extravagently, attending lavish high society parties, and enjoying the captivated attention of some of the greatest men and newspapers in Europe, I moved to this city in 1930 in disgrace. A staggering accumulated debt of $25 million (approximately $325 million today) had recently forced me to sell off my homes, clothes, and personal possessions. I was absolutely humiliated, and felt as if I was not myself without my fineries and fashionable wardrobe. Rumors swirled that I had been seen rummaging in trash bins for feathers to adorn my hair. I lived the rest of my life at 32 Beaufort Gardens in the Knightsbridge area of this city. Thankfully, I was able to gain more stability in the later years of my life, if not ever recovering the worldwide fame and admiration that I had once enjoyed. I died at my home in 1957, at the age of 76. I was buried at the Brompton Oratory with the inscription "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety," as had described Cleopatra in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. I was buried ornately in black and leopard-skin, with a stuffed Pekingese dog, wearing fake eyelashes. Had I been able to say so, I would have approved.
Magnus Carlsen: I traveled here in 2009 to compete in the London Chess Classic as a top seed contendor. I placed first in the tournament, propelling me to first place on the FIDE rankings list.
Mary Boleyn: After spending five years at the French court in Paris, my father secured me a position as lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, and so I joined the London courtiers here in 1519, now a beautiful and cultured young lady of 20. Shortly afterward, early in 1520, I married William Carey, a wealthy courtier. Henry VIII was a guest at my wedding. Beginning around 1521, when I was 21 years old, I became a mistress of Henry VIII. Though my place as royal mistress was never publicized as such matters ordinarily were, my relationship with the King was known by the court, and by my husband. My first child was born in 1524, officially Carey's but perhaps belonging to Henry. My relationship with Henry ended around 1526 after the birth of my second child, amicably ending a five year relationship. About a year later, in 1527, Henry began his relationship with my sister, Anne. In 1528, my husband Carey died, and my son was given as a ward to Anne's care. Carey also left me with heavy debts. Anne made sure that my son was given a respectable education, and convinced Henry to give me an annual pension of 100 pounds. My sister was crowned Queen in 1533, and I supported her. In 1534, I secretly married William, a poor Essex ex-soldier, whom I had fallen in love with. When I became pregnant later in the year, my marriage was discovered. Anne was furious, and I was banished from court to go live with my husband in Rochford.
Mary I of England: This was the primary city of my life. I was born here in 1516 at the Palace of Palentia in the Greenwich Area, a princess, the eldest and only child of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. An intelligent and ambitious child, at the age of 4 I marched into a room of French delegates and began playing the harpischord for them. My devoted mother oversaw and took on much of my education herself. By the age of 9, I could read and write Latin with ease. I also studied French, Spanish, Greek, music, and dance. I was also quite tough and even-tempered, far from a hysteric young girl - a trait that my father was proud of, boasting to his friends that I was "the girl who never cried." I was sent to Ludlow as honorary Princess of Wales (a title always given to the eldest male heir) in 1525, at the age of 9. I frequently visited home, but returned permanently in 1528, at the age of 12. I was happy to be back, but my happiness and place in the sun as my father's intelligent heir did not last long. Beginning around 1530, when I was 14, I began to see how unhappy my parent's were, and how tense their relationship had become due to my mother's inability to produce a male heir. From 1531 onward, I was often in ill health, suffering from painful and irregular menstruation and depression. Physicians were unsure whether this was related to stress or a deeper illness. I was no longer allowed to see my beloved mother, who had been sent away from court. In 1533, when I was 17 years old, my life completely changed. My father married the harlot Anne Boleyn early in the year, and my mother was officially stripped of all her titles, as was I. It was officially declared that my father's marriage to my mother had been invalid, making me illegitimate. England's ties to the Catholic church were broken, though I was a devout Catholic myself. My titles were removed, and I was called "the Lady Mary" instead of Princess. When Anne's daughter Elizabeth was born, my place as heir was given instead to her. My household and servants, even my devoted governess, were taken away, and I was sent away to Hatfield in December of 1533. I was allowed to return to court life in this city in 1536, but only after being forced to sign a document stating that I agreed that my mother and father's marriage had been unlawful, that I renounced my Catholic faith, and declared myself illegitimate. Back at court, I was reunited with some of my friends, and spent my time gambling and moving from palace to palace. My father spent much time seeking a husband for me. In 1543, my father placed me in the line of succession once more, placing me second after Edward VI of England, though I legally remained illegitimate. In 1547, my father died, and Edward became king. I inherited many estates, and Hunsdon House and Beaulieu Palace in Borehamwood were given to me. Though the official religion of England was now Protestant, I brazenly remained a devout Catholic, and held my own mass. While Edward ruled, I was rarely present in court, feeling that his place as first heir should rightfully have been mine. In 1553, Edward died, but had removed me from his list of heirs for fear that I would reinstate Catholicism. Jane Grey was made Queen, but I had gathered enough supporters to overthrow her. I rode triumphantly into the city after having Jane imprisoned and later executed. I was, at last, crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey in 1553, at the age of 37. Not including the brief and questionable reigns of Empress Matilda and Jane Grey, I was England's first reigning Queen. Once I was sovereign, I fervently began seeking a husband, needing a male heir that could inherit the throne, and thus keep Elizabeth from ever ruling. I also brutally quelled rebellions - which I was forever suspicious Elizabeth was involved in - and made Catholicism the mandatory faith of England, forbidding Elizabeth's own Protestant religion. I began an inquisition in which hundreds of people were burned at the stake for refusing to convert as Catholics, earning me the nickname "Bloody Mary." I married Philip II of Spain in Winchester Cathedral in 1554, just two days after meeting for the first time. Philip did not speak English, and we communicated through a mix of Spanish, Latin, and French. I fell absolutely head over heels in love with my husband, who was charming and handsome. Later in the year, I appeared to be pregnant, but in 1555 this was found to be untrue. I was ridiculed and fell into depression. The next few years were frought with political difficulties, none of which turned out well for me. I became increasingly unpopular, especially for my brutal burning of Protestants, who were now being named as martyrs. Forever suspicious of Elizabeth, I had her placed in exile under house arrest. In 1557, I thought myself pregnant - this time truly - and began making plans and decrees to prepare for my child's birth. However, in March of 1558, I once again found that the pregnancy had been false, in fact a stomach tumor. I died in May of 1558, at the age of 42, at St. James' Palace. Although I had declared that I wished to be buried beside my mother, I was instead buried in Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth would one day be buried beside me, a fact that would have enraged me.
Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook: I moved here in 1910, after a scandal back in my native Canada over my tampering with stock numbers to my own financial gain. This city became my true home, and I rose to become one of its prominent businessmen and politicians. Shortly after moving here, I met and befriended Bonar Law, who would later become Prime Minister of Britain. We had a lot in common, and supported each other - I gave him investment and law advice, and he helped me move upwards politically. With Law's help - and the helpfulness of having plenty of money to spend on campaigning, I was elected to a member of parliament for Ashton-under-Lyne. I won the seat by 196 votes more than the runner-up, and people marveled at how I had gone about the victory: by treating a campaign like a new business venture. Although I rarely spoke at parliament meetings, I did give enormous financial support to the Union party, making me an appreciated member. In 1911, I was knighted by George V of England. I bought quite a lot of shares of Rolls Royce in 1910, just after the death of Charles Rolls. I moved just outside the city later in 1911, to the luxurious Victorian mansion Cherkley Court in Leatherhead. I continued to work from this city, of course. I began concentrating on building a newspaper and media empire, and bought The Globe in 1911. I also invested heavily in The Daily Express, and became a majority shareholder. I tried unsuccessfully to purchase the London Evening Standard. During World War I, I controlled the newspapers, aided British-Canadian relations, and worked to document life on the Western Front by employing a virtual army of photographers, artists, and videographers. I frequently visited the front lines as an honorary colonel in the Canadian army. I gathered power and influence, despite the current Prime Minister, H.H. Asquith, making an effort to shut me out from political advancement. I recieved a peerage as "Lord Beaverbrook" in 1917. Beginning in 1918, my titles in power continued to become more and more illustrious. After the war was over, I concentrated on my newspaper The Daily Express, which I turned into popular, wildly well-selling publications with more photographs than most other papers of the time. By 1937, it was the most popular newspaper in Great Britain, and by the 1940's, the most popular newspaper in the world by far. I continued to invest and develop other newspapers, and loved my influence over the people of Britain. I enjoyed attacking my enemies in the press, and supporting my friends. I remained vivacious, quick-witted and active in politics and business for the rest of my life. Days before my death, I attended a birthday party banquet for a fellow Canadian businessman.
Michael Collins: I moved here in 1906, at the age of 15, to live with my sister. I got a job as a messenger at the stockbroker firm Horn & Company, and began attending King's College London. I loved the ambition and sweeping importance of this city, and couldn't resist getting caught up in the politics that constantly swirled around me. At first, I simply joined the London GAA, which presides over Gaelic Irish sporting events. Through acquaintances there, however, I was drawn into the secret Irish Republic Brotherhood, which required shows of loyalty, commitment, and oath-taking. The brotherhood was bent on achieving Irish independence. I joined in 1909, when I was 19 years old, and felt as if a flame had been kindled inside me. I also learned that my father had been part of the brotherhood, and couldn't have been more proud - feeling as if I was filling in the prophecy he had made for me on his deathbed. I quickly gained much respect and admiration in the brotherhood, and promoted to financial advisor. I also spent time training new recruits, and took place in public events. I remained in this city, active in the Irish Brotherhood, until 1915, when I moved temporarily to New York.
Michael Fassbender: I moved here in 1996, at the age of 19, to attend a drama school that was part of the University of the Arts London, the Drama Centre. While avidly studying acting, I also did odd jobs and struggled to pay my rent. My life seemed to be a series of auditions, interspersed with nights part-time bartending, and occasionally working as a postal delivery man. I dropped out of the acting school in 1999 when I was offered a part touring with the Oxford Stage Company, performing in the play Three Sisters. I finally landed my first big role in 2001, on the TV show Band of Brothers. I have been based in this city ever since, and rose to fame here. I now own the same small apartment that I once struggled to pay rent on when I was starting out - I bought it in my late twenties after enjoying success as an actor.
Miley Cyrus: I began performing here regularly around 2009, and I stated in 2010 that this was my favorite city to perform in, citing one of the reasons for this being its large gay community and spirit of acceptance.
Nell Gwyn: I lived nearly my entire life in this city, being born here in 1650 (though some suggest that I may have been born in Oxford), the daughter of a lowly woman who was possibly a tavern owner, prostitute, or brothel madame. My father did not ever feature in my childhood or my life at all. I recieved little education, save for how to pour beers and make my life on the harsh city streets. As a young girl, I often took to cross-dressing as a boy, adopting the name of "William." I also worked hawking goods on the street. In 1662, I took my first lover, who paid for rooms for me above a local tavern, and secured me a job at a theater. This was my first taste of life as a kept woman, and it suited me, though we soon had a falling out. By 1663, at the age of 13, I was working at the theater as an orange girl, selling oranges while dressed in revealing clothes, and also taking messages back and forth between the theater boxes of wealthy, upper-class patrons. Many to most of these messages involved sexual innuendos, and so I learned much during my time in this job. My wit and good looks caught the eye of many, including the theater manager, who sent me to learn acting and dancing. I was soon involved in a love affair with my acting teacher, and first appeared on the stage in 1664, at the age of 14. Though my first roles were not the best - being somber, dramatic ones - I soon found my niche in comedic acting. From 1665 - 1667, I became a celebrity, and one of the most famous actresses in the city. In 1668, I became the royal mistress of King Charles II, when I was 18. I continued acting for another year, drawing even larger crowds who were eager to see the King's mistress. In the following years, I continued to live as the King's primary mistress, far longer than any of the others. We had a son together, and I was granted plentiful allowances, apartments, and houses. My son was, despite his illegitimacy, granted a peerage. I was heartbroken when Charles died in 1685. On his deathbed, the king asked his brother to take care of me, which he did, paying my mortgage and giving me an annual allowance. I died in this city in 1687, less than three years after the death of my love the King, at the age of 37. I left my inheritance to my son, as well as a generous amount to the prisoners at Newgate.
Olivia Culpo: I traveled here to play in a symphony as a cellist, around 2010. I returned in August of 2013, enjoying my time as reigning Miss Universe, with my friend Emin Agalarov. While there, I worked promoting a press tour for the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, and Emin promoted his new single.
Olivia Hallinan: I was born here in 1984, in the neighborhood of Twickenham in western London. I was born the second-youngest of four sisters, and was interested in acting and theater from a young age. I got my first small role in a professional production in 1991, at the age of 7. In 1995, at the age of 11, I began training at a drama school owned by my mother. In 2002, at the age of 18, I went to study at the University of Manchester. I continued acting avidly, and landed some more major roles in TV series. I currently live and act here. I dream of owning a house in the Richmond area of this city.
Orlando Bloom: I moved here in 1993, at the age of 16, to complete my high school A-levels in Drama, Photography & Sculpture. I also pursued a career in theater, my true passion. I joined the National Youth Theatre, was offered a drama scholarship, and began to land roles in TV episodes and movies. I attended acting school from 1997 - 1999. I now have a house here, which I have remodeled to be more environmental. I live here part time.
Oscar Pistorius: I attended the International Paralympics Day event here in Trafalgar Square in 2011. I also traveled here in 2012 to compete in the 2012 Summer Paralympics as a sprinter. Though I did not, in the end, win a gold medal, my performance in the semifinal event broke a world speed record. I won a silver medal in the final event. I also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, running beside able-bodied sprinters. I placed 16th, and became the first double amputee to ever compete in the Olympics.
P.D. James: I came here in 1949 to work as a hospital board administrator. The circumstances were depressing: after my husband came back from the war, his schizophrenia was triggered, and his mental decline sharpened so much that he was unable to ever work again, and I had to put him in a mental institution. I had to support my two daughters entirely on my own, which meant leaving them to be cared for by my father while I worked. I began writing in the mid 1950's as an escape and comfort, and my first novel, Cover Her Face, was published in 1962. I named my main character, who would later go on to join the ranks of the famous fictional detectives of history such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, after a teacher I had had in high school. My husband died in 1964, and I was devastated. After that, I took a second job as a civil servant in the criminal sector of the Home Office, which gave me extra material for a second mystery novel. I continued writing and working in this city until 1979, despite the highly successful and lucrative publication of many novels. I preferred to keep myself busy. I retired in 1979, at the age of 59, and concentrated on my family, my writing, and enjoying life. I eventually bought a house in the Holland Park area in Chelsea. In 1991, I was made a member of the peerage and named Baroness of Holland Park. I lived here for the rest of my life, until about 2013, when my health began to fail, and I moved back to my other home in Oxford.
Paula Hamilton: Having made a successful career around the world as a model, I returned to England around 1985, and quickly began picking up work and fame. I became the main model for the Queen's couturier. In 1987, aged 29, I starred in the iconic Volkswagen commercial "Changes," the culmination of my career and what I am now most famous for. I continued to do shoots, campaigns, and also occasionally made guest appearances on TV or in music videos. In 2000, my close friend Paula Yates died of a drug overdose. The event left me shaken and deeply impacted, so much so that I decided that I needed to completely change my life. Seeing myself leaving the world of modeling and celebrity life behind, I moved to Christchurch, New Zealand to enroll in business school and check myself into rehab. This plan utterly failed, and I returned to this city in 2005. I checked into a British rehab in 2006 and remained sober for 12 years, allegedly. I continued to appear on television shows and land occasional modeling campaigns. In 2013, I was charged for having attempted to assault a police officer with a sunflower. I was fined 400 pounds.
Peggy Shippen: My husband, Benedict Arnold, and I sailed here in 1782, landing after a frigid one-month voyage. Having been viewed with contempt and scorn in America as traitors and double agents, we were recieved in England with fanfare, sympathy and admiration. I felt better about our lives for the first time in over a year. I was even recieved for an audience with Queen Charlotte. Our family lived well here until Arnold left to travel to Canada in 1784. I was crushed, feeling that our finally happy life had now been pulled up short yet again. I stayed in this city, raising our children, for another few years, before sailing to join him in St. John in 1787. I had to leave my two sons behind. Arnold and I both returned to this city in 1792, much to my relief. I happily reunited with the two sons I had left behind, and introduced them to two new sons. Arnold died in 1801, and I auctioned off most of our possessions and our family home to pay off my husband's debts. I died of cancer in this city in 1804, at the age of 44. I was buried beside Arnold in St. Mary's Church.
Peter the Great: I traveled here with my embassy in 1698, at the invitation of William III, whom I had met a few months ago in Amsterdam. I hoped to persuade England - the ultimate ally - into uniting with me against the Ottoman Empire, especially due to my growing friendship with William. This hope, however, never resulted in anything more than a pleasant trip. While in London, I visited the Royal Observatory, the Royal Mint, the Royal Society, and various shipyards and artillery plants. I also met Gilbert Burnet and Edmond Halley. I stayed at Sayes Court, a grand house owned by John Evelyn, which I requested due to its location directly across from the Deptford Dockyard. While staying there, my court and I badly damaged the house and ruined the grounds, much to Evelyn's fury.
Ralph Fiennes: I moved here in 1980 to pursue painting at an arts college in this city. However, I soon realized that my true passion was acting, and switched to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 1983 - 1985. I was a part of several theater troupes before finding success in the Royal Shakespeare Company. I got a few minor background appearances in film, beginning in 1990, but no big roles. I continued to pursue acting, however, and in 1992 was cast as Heathcliff in a film version of Wuthering Heights. From there, my acting career took off into A-list stardom, during which I still remained my same grounded, inquisitive self. I live here part time now, splitting my life between this city and Manhattan, as well as constant travel.
Roald Dahl: In 1934, at the age of 17, I began working for the Shell Petroleum Company and underwent training for two years. In 1936, I was relocated by the company to Mombasa, Kenya. By the time I came back from Africa and the Middle East to this city, I was a seasoned and promoted pilot in the Royal Air Force that had seen combat, battles, and a crash. After developing a series of headaches that caused me to black out, I was sent home as an invalid, back to this city in 1941. My hopes were that I would recover and become a flying instructor. In 1942, I met Harold Balfour, 1st Baron Balfour at a London gentleman's club. Balfour, who was the Under-Secretary of State for Air at the time, was so impressed by me that he offered me a job as assistant air attache at the British Embassy in Washington D.C. It wasn't the type of career that I had seen for myself, and I was reluctant. However, Balfour persisted, and eventually convinced me to accept the position. And so, at the age of 26, I was not only a promoted war veteran but also working for the government. I packed up my entire life and headed to Glasgow to board a ship to America only a few days later. After decades of being married to a movie star, I divorced her and married my girlfriend Liccy a few months later. I re-married in this city in the Brixton Town Hall.
Romola Garai: I left my family's small town of Atworth to move to the big city of London in 1998, at the age of 16. I came here to attend the City of London School for Girls, where I completed my A-levels. During this time, I lived with my older sister Rosie. I developed a passion for theater and drama, and appeared in many of the school's plays. I also began working with the National Youth Theater, and during one of their plays was spotted by an agent, who got me my first part: playing the role of a younger Judi Dench in The Last of the Blonde Bombshells. I was thrilled, but made sure to still focus on school in the midst of acting. I also dabbled in modelling. I began studies at Queen Mary University of London in 2000, working on a major in English and aspiring to be a journalist like my mother, but my love for acting kept pulling me away. In 2001, I transferred to the Open University, which allowed virtual schooling that was easier to fit into my own personal schedule. Meanwhile, I kept getting calls and opportunities in theater productions, movies, and TV shows. Inspired by this, I decided to leave my education with an Associate's Degree in English from Open University, and focus instead on my acting career. Now, though I am often traveling for acting work and events, I still live here.
Rudyard Kipling: After completing a long adventure and tour around Asia and the United States, I debuted here in "the literary center of the British World," in 1889. Having been publishing countless articles and short stories during my voyages, I had been garnering wild acclaim along the way, and was greeted in London with great success. Immediately, I had contracts with publishers. I also got an apartment in the Strand, an area that I called "primitive and passionate." Though my rooms were a bit shabby and cluttered, I loved sitting at my desk and looking out at the street and into the Gatti Music Hall, through the window of which I could see the stage. I published my first novel, The Light That Failed, here in 1890, a bitter memoir of my failed first love with Flo Gerrard. In 1891, I recieved word that a friend of mine, whom I had traveled through much of the United States with, had died of typhoid fever. I was distraught enough to return to this city, the place of his death, cancelling my plans of spending Christmas with my family in India. Two years ago, I had gone with him to visit his family in Beaver, Pennsylvania, and had met his sister Carrie, who was three years older than I was. We had at times written each other letters since then. Though no one at all seemed to have gotten the impression that we were courting each other, I later insisted that we had been, to the skepticism of many. Immediately after my friend's death, I sent a telegram asking Carrie to marry me. She accepted and we began making plans of living together in the northern United States. However, I saw soon afterward met Flo Gerrard - the turbulent fascination of my youth, and my first love - on the street and fell wildly back in love with her. I broke up my engagement to Carrie and pursued Flo, but she rejected me again. I fell into depression and mild ill health, and suffered a nervous breakdown. I was advised by my doctor to return to a warmer climate - advice that did not take much convincing before I set out on another voyage. After returning a few months later, much recovered, I continued my relationship with Carrie, and we were married at All Saints Church in January, 1892, in the midst of a severe epidemic of influenza. My friend Henry James gave the bride away. I was 26 years old, and Carrie was 29. We left London on our honeymoon to the United States. Though I never again lived in this city afterward, I did visit it quite often throughout the rest of my life. When I died in 1936, I was buried in the Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey, beside the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.
Ruth Wilson: Growing up in Surrey, I lived in close proximity to this city all my life, and often found myself here. I attended the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art here from 2003 - 2005, pursuing my interest in acting. I also prepared to launch a production company. For the rest of my life, I have often been here for acting work and events.
Samuel Morse: After graduating from Yale and supporting myself with painting, my artistic works caught the eye of famous painter Washington Allston, who offered to mentor me if I accompanied him to England. I agreed, though the finer details, such as information about my studies and the length of time that I would spend in England, were left ultimately to the discretion of my father, Jedidiah Morse. I became an apt pupil of Allston, and gained a place in the Royal Academy of Arts in 1811, a few months after arriving in Europe. I concentrated on Renaissance painters, anatomy, and on sketching live subjects, and tried my hand at sculpting as well. It was during my studies under both Allston and the Academy that I painted what is known as my masterpiece, The Dying Hercules. During my time in England, the War of 1812 flared back in America, and as I considered myself anti-Federalist, meaning that I sided with the French and by default opposed the British, some conflicts arose. I continued painting successfully, and returned to the United States in 1815, ready to make a name for myself as a professional artist. I returned in 1838 after just inventing the telegraph, but failing to find a financial investor. I hoped that I would find one in this city, but found that someone had already invented and patented the European version of the telegraph, invalidating any claim that I could hope to make in Europe. Disheartened, I returned to the United States.
Sarah Gadon: I traveled here in 2012 to film scenes of the movie Belle.
Sigmund Freud: Through the help and intervention of many friends, I was able to flee antisemitism into this city in 1938. I was heartbroken to leave my beloved home of Vienna. My last home was in this city, in the Hamstead area. After a long and torturously painful endurance of a cancerous jaw, I asked my doctor to administer me fatal doses of morphine. I died here in 1939.
Simon Cowell: This is the major city of my life. I was born here, in the Lambeth area, in 1959, the son of a music industry executive and a ballet dancer. Though I was not raised here, I returned as a young man around 1975, and soon began taking the blended industry and television and music by storm. I am now one of the most successful people in the world.
Sophie Dahl: I was born here in 1977, the daughter of an actor and a writer, and the granddaughter of Roald Dahl. Though I moved away as a child, I was often here as a young adult for my modeling career.
Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire: I worked here for most of my life and was at court for much of the rest of it, beginning around 1487 and concluding around 1539, the year of my death. I was renowned for my gift with languages and as an adept politician and diplomat. I served as a favorite of Henry VIII, and his most highly trusted diplomat.
Thomas More: I was born on Milk Street here in 1478, the son of a wealthy and respected lawyer. I was educated at the prestigious St. Anthony's School - the best in the city - as a boy. I left to attend the University of Oxford for two years, from 1492 - 1494, coming back at my father's insistance that I push to begin law training as soon as possible. I was only 16 when I began law school, of sorts. In 1502, I passed the bar and was officially made a lawyer, at the age of 24. Directly after this, however, I felt a deep insecurity and doubt about adopting the legal profession. I considered becoming a monk, and from 1503 - 1504 lived in a monastery outside London. Though I appreciated my time there, I decided to return to work as a laywer, as was elected to Parliament in 1504. I married here in 1505. I lived all of my life in this city, having children, remarrying, and climbing the social ladder adeptly. After becoming a member of Parliament, I was also elected an undersheriff of London in 1510, Master of Requests in 1514, Privy Councillor in 1514, knighted in 1521, Under-Treasurer in 1521, and also became a close advisor of King Henry VIII. For the rest of my life, I was an integral part of life at the royal court, enjoying wealth and prestige. However, in 1535, I disapproved about the king breaking with the pope, and refused to acknowledge him as Supreme Head of the Church of England. For this, I was imprisoned in the Tower of London and given a trial, being charged with treason. I was found guilty very quickly. After all the decades I had spent as the king's trusted advisor, it only took a cursory fifteen minute trial for it all to be forgotten, my services erased and me now branded a "traitor." I was beheaded, and my head was put on a stake on the London Bridge for one month.
Tom Sturridge: I was born here in 1985, in the Lambeth area, to a very cinematic family. My father, Charles Sturridge, was a director, producer and screen writer, and my mother, Phoebe Nicholls, was an actress. My paternal grandparents, Anthony Nicholls and Faith Kent, were also actors. I am the eldest of three children. I attended boy's school at the Harrodian School in southwest London. I landed my first acting jobs in this city, and still live here.
Victoria, Queen of England: This was the integral city of my life. I was born here in 1819, at that time fifth in line for the throne. I was raised under the agonizingly strict rules and prohibitations of my mother in Kensington Palace. I was not allowed to interact with anyone, and my mother schemed of ways to set up a regency in which she, as my mother, would rule as queen in my stead. Consequentially, I grew to hate Kensington Palace. At the age of 18, I was crowned Queen of Great Britain at Westminster Abbey in 1830. I moved into Buckingham Palace, which no English sovereign had ever lived at before. Though it was not yet finished, with leaking drains, doors that didn't shut properly, and drafts, I loved the palace, and considered it my first and only home. My mother was kept out of my prescence back at Kensington. I married Albert, the love of my life, in 1840 at St. James' Palace, and mourned his sudden death in 1860. I built the Albert Memorial in Regent Park in his honor, and wore black for the rest of my life in mourning of him. I continued to rule as Queen for over 63 years, making me the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning female ruler in all of history. My reign was so influential and progressive that it is now known as "the Victorian Era."
Viggo Mortensen: After completing my university studies, I traveled here and lived in this city for a few months in 1980. Now, I frequently visit for acting work and events.
Vivienne Westwood: After moving here in 1958, at the age of 17, this city became my home and the central location of my life. I attended the University of Westminster here in 1959, majoring in fashion and silversmithing, but I dropped out after a year, feeling that a working class girl trying to break into the fashion industry was hopeless. Instead, I took a factory job and later one as a primary school teacher. Still, fashion and design persisted in coming up in my life. I began to craft my own jewelry and sell it at a stall on Portobello Road. I married my first husband here in 1962, and made my own wedding dress. I had my first child in 1963. Two years later, I left my marriage and went to live with Malcolm McLaren. In 1971, we opened a boutique on King's Road, where I designed and sold punk clothing inspired by bikers, fetish, and prostitutes. My family thought I had gone insane. However, I gained widespread acclaim after the band The Sex Pistols began wearing my designs. I had my second child, this time with McLaren, in 1967. From then on, I eventually rose to the most elite tiers of high fashion, making a reputation for myself as a free, unique, high-fashion punk rocker. I absolutely love this city, and have never considered leaving it. Some of my favorite places in London are the Cortauld Institute of Art, the Wallace Collection, Whitechapel, Hampton Court, the London Symphony Orchestra, Brixton Market, the National Gallery, and Electric Avenue. I appreciate the city's flair for art and high culture. I live in a historic house built in 1703, which was once owned by the mother of James Cook.
Washington Allston: I sailed here from Charleston in 1801, to pursue my painting. I was admitted into the Royal Academy of Arts later in the year, and soon became a pupil, admirer, and friend of the academy's president, Benjamin West. My time spent at the academy were some of the best days of my life. I left in 1803 to explore and be inspired by Europe beyond Great Britain. When I returned in 1812, now a married man, I recieved great acclaim, and became a notable member of London artistic society. I published my first book here in 1813, a collection of poetry. However, my luminous life was shattered when my wife died in 1815. Suddenly, I felt alone and greatly homesick. I tried to remain in London for a few more years, hoping that my sadness would pass, but it didn't. I sailed back to America in 1818, never to see this great city again.
William Penn: I was born here in 1644, in the Tower Hill neighborhood, into a wealthy English family. My father was a famed admiral, and my mother was the daughter of a powerful Dutch merchant. When I was about 8, making the year approximately 1652, I became very ill with smallpox, causing me to lose all of my hair, a flaw that I remained very self-conscious about all my life. My ill health persuaded my parents to leave London and move to the countryside. During my youth and young adult life, this city was a central location for me. I had the misfortune to be here when Plague struck in 1665, but found strength in my Quaker faith. When I returned in 1666, just after the Great Fire of London, I found that the city depressed me. I thought it transformed into a gloomy, hopeless place, and was all too eager to leave. When I returned in 1668, to publish a series of Quaker tracts, I was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London on a charge of blasphemy, signed by King Charles II. Though threatened with execution, I refused to recant my statements. I was released after 8 months, and arrested again in 1670.
William the Conqueror: I was crowned King of England here in 1066, in Westminster Abbey.
William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania: I sailed here from my home of Philadelphia in 1770 in order to get ordained. The ceremony took place at St. James' Palace in the Westminster area. I returned in 1787 to be consecrated as Bishop of Pennsylvania.
Zoe Saldana: I frequently travel here for work. In 2013, I secretly married my boyfriend here, an Italian artist.
Zuzanna Bijoch: I have traveled here, walked in shows here, and done shoots here countless times as part of my work as a high fashion model. I am agency represented here by Next.